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An organic suckler cattle farming system in the Massif Central: analysis of technical and economic results.

VEYSSET, P. ; GLOUTON, J. ; BEBIN, D. and BECHEREL, F. (2009) An organic suckler cattle farming system in the Massif Central: analysis of technical and economic results. [Elevage de bovins allaitants en agriculture biologique dans le Massif Central : analyse des résultats technico-économiques.] Carrefours de l'Innovation Agronomique, 4, pp. 135-144.

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Document available online at: http://www.inra.fr/ciag/revue_innovations_agronomiques/volume_4_janvier_2009


in the Massif Central. An organic suckler cattle farm network was set up in order to establish technical and economic references. In 2004, 22 farms were monitored (13 of which had been monitored since 2001). All of these farms are located in economically-depressed areas. One hundred percent of the fodder area is under grassland. Annual crops (cereals and a cereal/pulse mix) take up 13% of the farm area and are used as livestock feed. The stocking rate (1 Livestock Unit/ha of fodder area) is 20% lower on organic farms than on conventional farms. Organic farms use 33% less concentrates per LU, and the meat production/LU is 16% lower than for conventional farms. The poorly structured organic beef market forces organic farmers to sell most of their animals (mainly store animals, since fattened animals represent only 43% of the animals sold) on the conventional market without getting premium prices. Since only fattened animals are sold on the organic market at a premium price, the average selling price (€/kg live-weight) of all the animals sold is only 12% higher for organically-bred than for conventionally-bred animals. However, because of lower operational costs (-35% for herd and fodder area costs), the bovine gross margin/LU is 3% higher for OF than for conventionally-bred animals. The lower stocking rate leads to a lower gross product per hectare of farm area. Since this result is balanced by a very low level of operational costs (no chemical inputs), the economic efficiency of the OF system is higher than that of the conventional system. The farm income per worker is the same in both systems. The search for feed self-sufficiency at the farm scale is a crucial element in farm economics, but it is only possible on mixed-crop livestock farms where cropping is possible with adapted crop rotation. The grassland farms, which are the least self-sufficient and have to purchase all the concentrates needed, must sell all their animals on the organic market to get the premium price that will then enable them to buy the inputs not produced on the farm.

Summary translation

Le Massif Central détient 25 % des vaches allaitantes françaises certifiées AB. Afin d’obtenir des références technico-économiques, 22 élevages bovins allaitants AB ont été suivis en 2004, dont 13 en échantillon constant depuis 2001. Ces exploitations herbagères sont toutes situées en zone défavorisée. Le chargement et la production de viande vive/UGB y sont 20 % plus faibles que chez les conventionnels. La plus-value sur le prix de la viande n’est que de 9 % car, suite aux difficultés de mise en marché, les animaux engraissés ne représentent que 45 % des ventes alors que seuls les animaux gras sont valorisés sur le marché bio. Le produit global à l’ha est inférieur de 16 % à celui des conventionnels, ce résultat étant compensé par de faibles charges opérationnelles (- 35%), d’où une meilleure efficacité économique. Le revenu par unité de main d’oeuvre est comparable entre AB et conventionnels.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:suckler cow; breeding system; organic farming; references; economy.
Subjects: Farming Systems
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Dairy cattle
Research affiliation: France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
France > IDELE - Institut de l’élevage
Related Links:http://www1.montpellier.inra.fr/dinabio/
Deposited By: PENVERN, Servane
ID Code:15473
Deposited On:01 Mar 2009
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:39
Document Language:French/Francais
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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